Being a Blues lover my expectations ran amuck and my imaginations wild before the Blues No Bar gig at Blue Frog, Mumbai last night. As I was entering, I was praying that this gig satisfies my Blues and music needs. And boy, Blues No Bar killed every jittery pre-conceived notion I had. Right from the beginning till the end, their music had me gripped and left me gasping for more. It was a case of “Blues, all the way till my shoes”.
Blues No Bar is a three-piece Blues outfit that dwells into originals and covers the likes of (Jimi) Hendrix, John Lee Hooker and Stevie Ray Vaughan. The band comprises Marco Do Piazza: Guitar/Vocals (Belgium), Dr. Kyle Hyde: The Bass (USA), Jordan D. Beatwallah: Drums (Canada).
This was the first time I watched them Live, and I can assure you this is a band that will make you swing, groove and dance to their music. A treat to both ears and eyes alike, their performance was nothing short of electrifying. Marc’s guitar tone and husky voice were a perfect combination for singing and playing the Blues. Kyle’s bass-playing was what I would like to call boombastic and Jordan’s drumming was tight and crisp. As a band, they held together like a stack of carbon atoms in a diamond. In fact, they were one of the tightest acts I have seen in a long time. They played a 90-minute set comprising 17 songs that included 4 covers and 13 originals. Superb lyrics, catchy melodies and an overall stupendous performance by this band made the evening perfect. Unlike a lot of other modern day Blues bands, Blues No Bar is a very lively band. Marc’s excellent showmanship along with the support of Kyle and Jordan (or “The terror of Bandra” as Marc called him) gives the band a very exciting edge.
The band was great, the set was terrific. But the best part of the night were the last two songs performed by the band. Both songs were dedicated to India. The penultimate song was called Living in India and the last one, Horn OK Please. What made things even better were the visuals on the screens of Blue Frog. They showed the Gateway of India and a truck with the sticker Horn OK Please. Both these songs were mainly in English, but the occasional use of Hindi lyrics by Marc, set the gig apart from the rest. Kyle’s Bass improvisations, Jordan’s insane drumming and some exquisite guitar solos by Marc were a treat to watch. My favorite song of the night though was Funky Talk, an original by the band which was groovy, jumpy, funky yet bluesy.
Altogether one of the best performances I have seen. Do not miss them whenever they play Live!
Q) What are your influences in life? What inspired you to pick up the Blues?
Marc: Well, there’s plenty of stuff really. Big names like Muddy Waters, Johnny Lee Hooker, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan
Q) I see you have a Stevie Ray Vaughan signature guitar. How come no Stevie tunes tonight?
Marc: Well, we used to play a lot of Stevie Ray and a lot of other Blues covers, but the thing is, we started to play our own material and that is what we want to promote.
Q) How long have you been together as a band?
Jordan: Marc and Kyle have been playing for quite a while. I joined them about a year back
Kyle: We had another drummer earlier, but he left to study at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. We are very lucky to have Jordan as our drummer though
Jordan: Well, I am no Berklee graduate but I can hold a beat (laughs)
Q) So, Marc you are from Belgium, Kyle is from the United States and Jordan is from Canada. Now you reside in India. How did this all happen?
Marc: We are all teachers at the American School. All of us reside in Mumbai. All of us worked at the same office. So one day we just talked and decided to start a band.
Q) Pick one favorite artist.
Marc: It would be Jimi Hendrix any day hands down.
Kyle: Miles Davis.
Jordan: I think John Mayer right now. Not just me but the entire band is quite influenced by his music.
Q) Anything you would like to say to Blues fans out here in India?
Kyle: Blues falls into every major form and genre of music. Right from Metal to Jazz and Pop styles, the Blues always forms the fundamentals. When you play the Blues you understand a lot of music. We play Urban/Electric Blues, but Blues goes back a long way.
Marc: The fact that we have been living in India for quite a while now and for the last 6-8 months that I have been writing songs, I have found a lot of inspiration in Mumbai and India. Its been quite a great experience being here in India.